Many people believe that it is impossible to make a cat drink water, which is unnecessary. The bowl is worth – what else? If it wants to drink, it will not die of thirst. This is the approach that causes problems with the urinary system in cats in the city. But how to get a cat to drink water then?

Access to freshwater is necessary for all cats without exception. But first of all – those who eat dry food. According to the plan of Mother Nature, predators get a lot of fluid with blood and other components of the victim. And in case of housing maintenance, the cats eat either exsanguinated meat or dry food, less often – canned food. In these conditions, the owners should additionally stimulate interest in water. Heavy drinking helps domestic cats maintain the health of the kidneys and urinary system.

The mother cat teaches kittens to eat from a bowl and visit the tray, and drink water. If a person grows babies, this responsibility falls on his shoulders.

Why cats drink little water

From a biological point of view, all domestic cats represent the subspecies “steppe cat”, which still exists today. Domestication has had almost no effect on the basic behavior patterns of the little predator. Therefore, cats behave as if they still live in the desert or steppe – they try to do without water.

Cats do not like to drink, so their urine has such a strong odor – it is much more concentrated than in humans or dogs. The cats’ sense of thirst is blunted. They pay much more attention to hunger.

Another reason why your pet does not get enough liquid is the unproductive petting mechanism. The cat can spend a lot of time at the bowl and still drink very little water.

how to get a cat to drink water
cat drinks water

The cat’s tongue only touches the water and rushes back. The water rises in a ‘column’, and the cat grabs it, closing its mouth. The cat’s tongue moves swiftly – about four movements per second.

In the risk group for insufficient moisture consumption – pets, which are kept on dry food. The moisture content of pellets is about 10%, while in raw meat or canned food – 70-80% water. Cat, which eats dry food, must drink significantly more water to compensate for this difference.

What is the danger of insufficient liquid consumption

If a cat doesn’t drink enough, it becomes chronically dehydrated. First of all, owners notice problems with their hair – it fades, falls out. Then the urinary system suffers. The urine becomes too concentrated, and the salt crystals contained in it precipitate. First, the “sand” is formed, and then the larger concrements. Urinary stone disease is especially dangerous for males – the sand clogs the long and thin urethra, causing a urine delay.

Water is also essential for digestion. Chronic dehydration causes constipation. If the feces of the pet are hard as stones, it is an alarming sign.

When dehydrated, the blood becomes thicker, and the pressure increases. This is especially dangerous for cats with kidney or heart failure.

Too little water
Too little water

Usually, owners are thinking about getting the cat to drink water. After the appearance of severe health problems – an attack of cystitis or urolithiasis, because such diseases come back again and again.

Which water to give the cat

The quality of tap water in cities varies greatly depending on the region. Large megacities have modern treatment facilities, but at the same time, old pipes are a source of harmful impurities. Water with a high content of chlorine, heavy metals, fluorine, and hard water with many salts is not suitable for cats. I also advise not to give boiled water to cats – it tastes terrible.

cat drinks from a jar
cat drinks from a jar

The best option is fresh filtered water or bottled but of good quality. The water from different sources has different tastes; here, you should experiment. Village cats are happy to drink rainwater.

You can see the water in pet stores, especially for pets, but I see it as a marketing ruse.

The water should be fresh. It is changed every day (more often, if an animal has problems with the urinary system). The bowl should be washed regularly. Read also how to wash the whole cat at home

Which containers cats like to drink from

If you want to stimulate the cat to drink more water, you need to choose the right bowl. It must be enormous: broad, deep, and stable.

cat drinks from a nice bowl
cat drinks from a nice bowl

It is better to avoid metal and plastic dishes because it gives water a specific flavor. A good bowl is easy to wash. It does not absorb odors.

Suitable materials:

  • Ceramics;
  • Porcelain;
  • Glass;
  • enamel

Some cats like to drink exclusively from high dishes. For these cats, it is better to allocate a glass, mug, or vase. You can buy a dog bowl on a stand (height adjustable).

cat enjoys drinking from glass
cat enjoys drinking from glass

This kitten has been turning over the water bowl all the time, so the owner has put a marble mortar on it for drinking:

cat drinks from marble bowl
cat drinks from marble bowl

How to organize the right place for a watering hole

Sometimes a cat drinks little water because the water bowl is in the wrong place, and there is no alternative.

The water should not stand next to the food

The owners’ most common misconception is to put a bowl of food and a bowl of water next to it or to use a double bowl at all. Drinking where you ate is not typical for cats.

In nature, the watering hole is always far away from the hunting ground. And this instinct is still relevant: if a pellet of food or a piece of meat falls into a bowl with water, it will instantly spoil, becoming unsuitable for drinking. How quickly the owner will discover the problem is a big question.

Water should not stand near the tray

Here, neither water nor food should stand next to the cat’s litter box without any comments. Cats are clean animals. They thoroughly bury excrement, prefer to go to the tray with fresh filler, and squeamish to eat next to their own bathroom.

It is funny, but the human toilet may seem to the cat a good freshwater source – far from the kitchen, in a secluded place, on a hill. The danger is that the cat may get poisoned with detergents by the owners’ negligence.

cat drinks from toilet
cat drinks from toilet

There should be several sources of water

Cats are susceptible to hunger, but they can ignore thirst for a long time. Therefore, there should be several bowls, considering your home’s size – for a small apartment, this is at least three watering places.

cat drinks from big glass
cat drinks from big glass

The water should be on the trajectory of the cat’s usual route. Observe where your cat likes to rest and play (woke up – had a drink and only then ran to eat).

Cat laziness knows no boundaries. Just take for granted that your cat will not go, especially to look for water to drink.

How to force a cat to drink water

In the wild, the higher the water, the cleaner it is. Cats aspire to “the sources of the river”, ignoring the water, which stands in a flat bowl on the floor. Sometimes it is enough to place a deep bowl on a hill (window sill, table) for the cat to get interested in water. Many cats like to drink from the tap, not because there is running water. It is just the sink is high enough.

If you put the drinking fountain on the floor, it will lose its appeal to the tap. It is better to set high containers on the floor: a bucket, a basin, a pot.

How To Get A Cat To Drink Water? 🤔😻
cat drinks from a basin

Knowing the drinking habits of your cat, be careful – do not leave attractive unattended containers with harmful content:

  • a bucket of washing-up liquid while washing the floors;
  • dishes in the sink, filled with water and dishwashing agent;
  • a basin with soaked laundry;
  • a glass for brush rinsing on the table after drawing.

4 tricks to make a cat drink water

Suppose you have already placed salads and vases with freshwater all over the house. Still, the cat stubbornly ignores the watering hole. Well, there are a few other tricks, one of which will definitely work.

Read also about 20 unknown facts about cats

Flavored water for cats

If the cat is indifferent to ordinary water, you can play on food interest. To do this, pets are offered different solutions or added to the water for the smell:

  • Meat juice is a dark liquid that remains in the bowl after raw meat or by-products, mostly when defrosted.
  • Unsalted broth – it is enough to boil in water without salt a couple of shrimps, crayfish, clams (mussels, oysters). If a cat does not like seafood (although they are usually delighted with them) – add a little bone or meat broth to the water.
  • A drop of cat milk or a pinch of cat milk substitute (sold in pet stores and veterinary stores).
  • Soak fresh cucumber slices in water – some cats are attracted to “vegetable water”.
  • Fortiflora – industrial additive for cats with probiotic. Available in powder form, it has a pronounced meat smell. It is enough to add a pinch to the water.
  • Viyo Reinforces – prebiotic for cats in the form of a nutritious drink, you can give it purely or dilute with water in different proportions (1:1, 1:2) – so the cat will get even more fluid.

The only drawback of the “tasty water” is that it spoils quickly and should not be left in a bowl for the whole day. How to get a kitten to drink water?

Some cats love to drink earth water – the one that accumulates in a saucer of a flower pot after extensive watering. Others tend to drink from the aquarium. Do not scold pets, and try to provide them with a “favorite watering hole”.

cat drinks from a flower tray
cat drinks from a flower tray

Running water

Rumbling water attracts cats, sometimes it is curiosity and desire to play, but in the end, the cat still drinks water, even licking its wet paws. Running water naturally seems to be fresher than standing water, so cats love to drink from under the tap.

cat drinks from a tap
cat drinks from a tap

Try to put the pet in a special fountain. There are different models in the form of a stream or a falling jet (faucet, camomile).

Ice cubes

Regular water – room temperature, and warm water are not as tasty as cold. Coldwater is associated with freshness, so it is useful to cool the cat’s water during the day, change it more often, and in summer, keep a bottle of water in the fridge.

An ice cube placed in a bowl of water can have a good effect. Playful seals start touching and driving the mysterious object with their paws, trying to get it out, lick it. Plus, the water in the bowl doesn’t heat up so quickly – it’s relevant if you’re at work all day.

How To Get A Cat To Drink Water? 🤔😻
ice cube for cat

You will be surprised, but many cats love to play with pieces of ice!

You can freeze, not just water, but meat juice or shrimp broth.

Toy, floating in the water

How To Get A Cat To Drink Water? 🤔😻

A good “lure” is a toy floating on the water surface for kittens and young cats. Put a basin or a pot on the floor and throw a small light ball (e.g., a ping-pong ball or a surprise kinder egg), a bottle cap, a plastic cap. While chasing and trying to get a toy, the kitten will dip her paws in the water and then lick them. This is how the kitten gets used to being interested in water.

How to get a cat to drink water: Conclusion

Owners usually do not think about getting the cat to drink water until the problems knock at the door. The urinary stone attack, idiopathic cystitis of cats, chronic constipation – all these are good reasons to review the pet’s drinking regime. But in fact, everyone who has decided to feed the cat dry industrial food should puzzle themselves with the right watering.

cat enjoys cold water
cat enjoys cold water

If you doubt whether the cat drinks enough, you can take a general urine test. It is the increase in urine density predisposes to the loss of crystals in the sediment. On natural food, the cat will drink little – a lot of moisture contained in the food. On dry food – naturally more. Each organism has its own norm, and it depends on many factors. How often the cat washes (and therefore spends water on the production of saliva), does not feed kittens.

The intense thirst of any cat is an alarming symptom, not a reason for joy. This may be a sign of kidney failure, hormonal diseases, or even diabetes.

Share in the comments on what ways to encourage the cat to drink more water helped you. Maybe there are other techniques that I forgot to mention in the article?

Questions and Answers

  1. Do cats prefer warm or cold water?

    Cold water just seems more delicious. And in hot weather, cold water is a necessity.

  2. How can you tell if a cat is dehydrated?

    Signs of cat dehydration are:

    high or low body temperature
    dry skin
    saliva viscosity, light shade of oral mucous membranes
    dry eyes and irritation on the eyelids
    apathetic state, lethargy, sleepiness
    stool disorders: diarrhea or constipation

  3. What are the signs of kidney failure in a cat?

    1. Reduced appetite
    2. Thirst
    3. Frequent urination or lack thereof
    4. Blurry urine or blood impurities

  4. Is tap water OK for cats?

    Almost all, without hesitation, will appear cats with water from the tap. And they themselves are often funny to varnish the running water. Cats can feel the liquid, saturated with oxygen, so they prefer it. You can also observe cats drinking water from the aquarium, where it is also enriched with oxygen due to the presence of an aerator or plants.

    However, tap water also contains dangers.
    First, it smells like chlorine and cats are reluctant to drink it. Secondly, due to the wear and tear of pipes, the water contains rust and other harmful substances to the animal body.
    Therefore, the veterinarians strongly recommend not to drink the cat with tap water without cleaning it.

  5. What can cats drink besides water?

    If your cat will not drink fresh water, then you can try boiling some plain chicken breast or white fish and give your cat the cooking liquid to tempt them. This should not contain any salt or oil. You can also ask your vet whether oral rehydration fluids would be suitable.

  6. Can I give my cat purified water?

    Many people think that boiled water is better than the one from under the tap. However, this is rather a misconception. The fact is that when boiling, part of the water evaporates, and this leads to an increase in salt concentration in the water. In the remaining liquid, there is a sediment, which, when mixed with fresh water, forms a “heavy water”. Therefore, the constant use of boiled water can contribute to the development of urolithiasis.

  7. How often should cats drink water?

    According to research data, the water consumption rate of a cat of average size and weight of 5-6 kg is about 200 ml per day. The norm of how much a cat drinks per day varies depending on its diet, ambient temperature and other conditions.

Tags: cat, cat care, cat and water, kitten and water


Article by Stanley Harrison

Article by Stanley Harrison – a passionate cat lover, always ready to share his experience with readers. Happy owner of two cats – Chloe and Leo, a dog Rocky and a parrot Tweety